Let me just start by saying that I am incredibly lucky to have made friends with some amazing ladies after a mere 16 months in England. And, those lovely ladies took it upon themselves to make sure I left single-dom with a proper send-off! The funny thing is that in the short time I have known these ladies they have really gotten to know me so well. So well, in fact, that I don’t think I could have planned myself a better hen party! It was a fabulous weekend in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. (You might remember me writing about our other adventures in Newcastle when the Brit ran the Great North Run.) And, the fact that we were going to Newcastle was all I knew about the weekend until we arrived at the hotel! I have a love-hate relationship with surprises – I love them when I know nothing about them, but when I know something is happening in which I am being purposely kept out of the loop, then I am constantly dying to know what is going on. These ladies knew this about me, so I think they had fun torturing me. Also, I like to plan well in advance what I am wearing for big occasions, and I really stressed way too much about the packing portion until I was given extremely vague information a few days before our departure.
The logo for the hen party!
So, I was picked up on a Saturday morning in October by my friends, Michelle and Jane, who were oh-so-secretive about putting the hotel address into the GPS while we laughed about how hilarious the whole thing was. We had a lovely drive up north chatting away, but once we got closer to Newcastle, I started to get a little more nervous about the unexpected. We walked into the Hotel Indigo, were greeted by the rest of the ladies (there were 8 of us in total), and off we went to explore/shop/lunch until a little later in the afternoon when our first activity was planned.
[If you are ever in Newcastle, I highly recommend the Hotel Indigo. Everything about it was spot on. It’s a fairly new hotel and very contemporary in the decor. It’s centrally located, which made it easy to walk to the shopping, a variety of restaurants, and the bars and clubs. The rooms were amazing. The beds were incredibly comfy. The staff at the hotel was so friendly and accommodating to our giggling group. The breakfast was delicious. I really cannot say enough good things about this hotel.]
Our first activity of the weekend was a cocktail-making class with one of the lead bartenders at the hotel. But, before that could get under way, I was presented with a Statue of Liberty crown with a veil attached as well as a sash that read ‘Miss America’s Hen Party’! It was so cute, and I’m not big on getting dressed up for these sorts of things. Each of us were given a goodie bag that included a mini cocktail-making kit, a booklet with cocktail menus, a booklet of Geordie English (Geordies are the people of Newcastle), plus the MOST amazing coasters made by my friend’s sister. (I should also note we commissioned her to do our wedding favors, which I can’t wait to share!) Each of our heads were super-imposed onto a pin-up girl with a cocktail name beside it. For example, I was Miss Mojito and you can seen mine in the center if the picture below. The ladies on the hen do each got the one of themselves, but I got a full set and I still can’t believe how cute they are!
The plan was for the bartender/mixologist to teach us to make three different cocktails, he’d then make one of those cocktails for each person, and we would be brought fancy canapes between each round of drinks. The first drink we were taught was the French martini (delicious!) and that was followed by the mojito, which is one of my favorites, so the mixologist had me up at the front with him and instructed me through the process. The third cocktail was some sort of cream-based drink and none of us were keen on the combination, so the mixologist was extremely accommodating and allowed us to each pick any drink we wanted off the cocktail list and he made us each our own. It was really a great afternoon (and I’m not just saying that because I drank 3 full cocktails in a short amount of time!)!
While we were enjoying the cocktails, we played a game that had us all laughing in between cringes, and I was presented with an incredibly touching book with messages from my family and friends from the States who couldn’t be there. (Cue ugly tears.) Since then, the seven women on the hen party have added their own messages as well and I read them all the day after our wedding. It was a lovely gesture.
I also should mention that I had not yet been to my room, so when we finished our cocktails and headed upstairs to get ready for the evening, I had a little audience outside as I walked in and I couldn’t quite understand why until I opened the door to see the most incredible (and huge!) arrangements of flowers from the Brit! I guess they all knew they were there, so wanted to see my reaction! He’s a good one, I tell ya!
Once we were all ready to take on the night, we headed to Tokyo bar for a pre-dinner drink and some more games. (I’m not overly keen on games where I am the center of attention, but these games were all perfect and did not include me making a fool of myself. The only thing that happened was I had to tell my most embarrassing moment and the Brit’s mum was present when the story came out the first time in which she thought it was a joke, so now she knows that it was true! Awesome.) Then, it was time for dinner at Babucho, which is described as ‘New York style Italian brasserie and bar’… I can’t remember the exact pasta dish I had, but I know it was good and filling. It was so sweet of them to arrange for us to eat at a restaurant that would help me feel like I was back in the States!
We were all full from dinner, but ready for some dancing so off we went to the clubs. One of my friends is the most efficient party planner and organizer in the land, so she had called ahead and gotten us on the list for three clubs. This had us all laughing and saying everyone needs an Amber in their lives because she just gets stuff done! Because we were still stuffed from our meals, we each maybe had one cocktail the rest of the night and instead took turns buying rounds of water and Diet Coke — it was hilarious! Most sober hen party ever! But wow, did we have fun! We danced the night away hopping from Florita’s, Madame Koo’s, and one other (that I can’t remember the name of!). We had a great time and finally landed back in the hotel around 3:30 AM. (We were all terrible about taking photos, but just know we all looked glam in our frocks, and I was happy to prance around in my sequin dress from French Connection!)
The next morning, we all gathered for breakfast and some of the ladies set off while four of us stuck around. I, again, had no idea what the plan was, but I soon found out we were off for a morning at the Savannah Spa. I had an amazing massage, which included being able to choose the scent of oil the masseuse used on me. It was absolutely heavenly. Plus, I was able to indulge myself in the Aveda peppermint tea that I loved so much when I used to go to an Aveda salon in Washington for my hair cuts…yum. We chilled in the relaxation room until we all finished our treatments. At which point, we headed back home sufficiently relaxed.
It truly was an incredible weekend with such amazing ladies! I’m so thankful to have stumbled into these friendships!